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Powder Hound Winter Ale - Big Sky Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Powder Hound Winter AlePowder Hound Winter Ale

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BA SCORE
82
good

480 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 480
Reviews: 243
rAvg: 3.63
pDev: 12.12%
Wants: 9
Gots: 24 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Big Sky Brewing Company visit their website
Montana, United States

Style | ABV
American Amber / Red Ale |  7.20% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 02-13-2002

Two words describe winter in our neck of the woods... cold, dark, and snowy. Just the way we like it! At 7.2% ABV, Powder Hound Winter Ale gives just the right amount of warmth, balanced by its rich taste and generous dose of Hallertau, Palisade, and Amarillo hops. After a cold day of getting it done or just relaxing, the avalanche of flavor will have you saying these four words - "I'll have another Powder Hound"!
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 480 | Reviews: 243
Photo of Satan70
3.5/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of SargeC
3.5/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Copper-brown color with a golden-tan head.

Smell: Pine accented hops with a thick, malty undercurrent.

Taste: Initial toasted malt flavor finishes with a tart, minor hop flavor.

Mouthfeel: Medium body. Semi-oily with a waxy finish.

Drinkability: Decent brew. Accessible flavor and alcohol content. Decent example of the style, but not a standout.

Photo of BMart
3.5/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of Expressplr10
3.5/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of dgherm
3.5/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of imperialking
3.5/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of russpowell
3.51/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Here's my take on this year's release:

Pours copper/reddish orange with 2+ fingers of sand colored head.
Above average lacing & head retention

S: Some breadyness, not much else

T: Earthy hops up front along with hints of cherry & brown sugary malt. Breadyness & tobacco-like hoppyness, along with a hint of raspberry & caramel as this warms. Finishes a bit warming, with citric & herbal hops, plus just a hint of orange jam

MF: Medium-bodied with moderate carbonation, a little juicy, & okay balance

Drinks pretty easy, this isn't as good as it was, but I could still easily session on this. This works better as winter warmer than an amber, but I'm not sure I'd agree with the original call

Photo of longbongsilver
3.52/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

New night, new winter ale. Why not?

Fills mug a crystal-clear copper, thick biscuity white head of a couple inches sticks around a bit. First scent reminds me of honey & a bit of cinnamon, followed by some surprisingly naked barley considering the clarity. Something that reminds me of green apple rounds out the back.

On swig the hop characteristics show up in the form of mostly an understated bitterness, nothing real floral or fruity going on here. The smell telegraphs the taste rather well, though for the strength it's more subtle than I expected. Carbonation is very laid back but still noticeable, goes down like a cream ale actually.

It's a more simple than you'd think high-gravity chugger. Sometimes it's what a brewer doesn't do that factors in more than what they did, and they didn't broadcast strength in particular here. Wouldn't fight anybody over it, but it works.

Photo of beveritt
3.53/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks go out to wasatch for this beer.

Presentation: Poured from a 12 oz brown bottle into an Imperial pint glass. label depicts a wolf standing in snow. Printing on the neck, but no easily discernible bottling date.

Appearance: Pours with 2 fingers of medium tan head. This settles slowly to a thin yet complete coating, leaving behind nice lacing. The beer itself is a brilliant ruby/copper color. A very, very tiny amount of sediment remains in the bottle.

Smell: Strong caramel malts with underlying sugar sweetness.

Taste: Semi-sweet malt backbone with an ever so slightly vegetal hop bitterness in the finish. Lingering caramel malt.

Mouthfeel: Lower than average carbonation level. Body is good.

Drinkability: An easy drinking beer, but nothing exceptional. I find so many amber ales to be kind of "meh" and this one follows suit.

Photo of ThePeskyDingo
3.53/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours with a 1 finger off white head. Beer color is a dull copper brown with some carbonation.

Smells of sweet dried fruits, malts, caramels

Tastes of malts, nuts and dried fruits.

Mouthfeel is smooth and medium bodied. finishes clean.

Easy to drink. Could drink several in a session if the opportunity presented itself.

Photo of Tballz420
3.53/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This brew is a brown to dark-brown color, medium tan head with some cascading action. Fair amount of lace. Some caramel malt action on the nose, touch of hops. Sweet malt front, caramel, punctuated in the jaw by some bittering hops. Fairly thin mouth, I can see where they were thinking about going with this beer, but they need some more of everything. Not bad but could surely be better.

Photo of OKCNittany
3.53/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: 1" off white head. Decent retention and lacing. Clear dark copper.

S: Light aroma of toasted malts. Had an initial fruityness that disappeared quickly.

T: Toasted malt flavor throughout. Finished with a nice hop bitterness and something slightly off.

M: Medium body with tingly carbonation. Dry citric hop finish.

D: Not a bad brew, but for Big Sky, it falls a bit short. I'm not entirely sure what's missing, but I'm sure a healthy dose of additional hops wouldn't hurt. (has it ever?)

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.53/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Fuzzy, dark orangish bronze; a relatively common winter beer color it seems. The compact, orange-tinted beige cap features a pebbled surface of gently popping bubbles. As it drops, sloppy rings of lace appear on the upper portion of the glass.

The nose is redolent of heavily toasted malt and puts me in mind of coarse, heavy, dark bread. I don't smell chocolate per se, so comparisons to pumpernickel don't really apply. It smells a bit earthy as well. The aroma needs something to give it some life. Hops would do the trick, but are virtually absent by my nose.

Powder Hound Winter Ale tastes better than it smells. While it's still malt-dominant, it's more multi-dimensional than the nose could ever hope to be. The malt backbone is firm and stops just short of roasted. Caramel and mild chocolate lead the way and a moderate sweetness helps rather than hinders.

Despite the early and mid sweetness, bitterness gathers itself at the midway point and increases modestly through the finish. The sweet-bitter interplay is wonderful, I just wish the underlying flavor was more to my liking. The body is a click or two above medium and the carbonation is on the shy end of things, resulting in a lovely mouthfeel.

I've been pleased by Big Sky in the past. Powder Hound isn't bad, but a few tweaks are needed to bring it up to the level of its stablemates. I feel like a broken record sometimes, but more hops would improve this beer immensely... more hops would improve this beer immensely... more hops would improve this beer immensely...

Photo of bmwats
3.54/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a standard pint.

A: Dark golden hue. Moderate amounts of rising effervescence. Pours a 1 finger, bubbly, white head. Some slight yet persistent lacing.

S: Yeast, sourdough, and pine nuts. A little orange.

T: Hops and yeast. Some lightly sweet and acidic lemon and orange citrus.

M: Crisp yet syrupy. The elevated alcohol is apparent. Biting finish with almost a synthetic sweetness that lingers on the palate.

D: Elevated alcohol will slow your progression a bit, but pretty much sessionable.

Atmosphere is pretty good. Dark hue, continual effervescence, slight head and lacing. Nose is Yeasty with some pine hop. Yeasty, hoppy, and a little sweet. Overall, this is a good quaff.

Photo of BeardedRiker
3.55/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The last Big Sky beer I had was a couple of years ago. I thought it was OK and never felt the need to go and try more. Since I've been asked and convinced to try another and review it. I like pretty much every winter ale I come across so I thought getting the Powder Hound would be a good choice, and it was. Let's see what the mountain folk of Montana came up with!

Like most beers that are good, I knew this one was just by pouring it out. Its aroma hit my nostrils pretty fast, but that'll be touched on later. The Powder Hound has a great head on it. It's thick, foamy, off-white in color, and leaves plenty of lacing as well as leaving a foamy film on the surface throughout drinking the beer that is a clear golden-orange. The smell is wonderful. To me it smells like a sugary cookie in some ways. Sweet malts and earthy hops are dominant with citrus present underneath. I don't get that floral aroma like most pale ales have from the hops but that's not a negative toward this beer. It smells like a winter ale should be: hoppy, plenty of malt, and earthy.

I think what I enjoy most about Powder Hound is the mouthfeel and balance of flavor. Hops are most prevalent but there isn't too much bitterness. It's very nice though. Instead it has a more earthy-spicy flavor that's not overwhelming. Mango citrus tang follows the hops with malty sweetness and a light roastiness. When drinking this I think of sitting by a fire after being outside in the cold and snow. In this case I guess the Powder Hound has done its job of being a winter ale since it makes me imagine drinking it in the winter. :P Hop bitterness and citrus do linger at the very end in the mouth. There's nothing like good flavors lingering to help you have a more lasting enjoyment of the beer. Although I don't think this beer is extraordinary, it is definitely very good. It's a great example of a quintessential winter ale. If you're snowed in then get this one!

Photo of nukem5
3.55/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a great dark rich amber with solid foam cap which clings to walls of glass.

S: Aromas of light floral hops and sweet malty goodness.

T: Taste is a full throttle blast of sweet caramel malts with a light hop finish.

M: Medium body with smooth character all it's own.

O: Overall good beer with a bit of a boozey bite to help fight off winter cold blahs and bring in the holidays.

Photo of Beerguy1969
3.55/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of KajII
3.56/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

[Best served in a Trappist glass]

The pour was a hazy medium orange with an average sized (1-2 finger) white creamy head that diminished into a puddle of residue which in turn created streaking sheets of lacing.

The aroma was of a mild bread malt, pine hops and a sweet doughy yeast with notes of caramel, toffee, coriander, a bit of clove and just a touch of alcohol.

The taste was malty and mildly sweet with notes of caramel and toffee early on and then progressed into a nice bitter hoppy flavor that had notes of some dark fruit and spices with a hint of alcohol at the end. The flavor lingered for a nice long time and left a nice spicy malty flavor on the taste buds.

Mouthfeel was medium in body and a tad watery in texture with a medium carbonation.

Overall a nice bold Winter Ale that had just the right amount of spices and a great hoppy finish.

Photo of imagese
3.57/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- hazy golden with a one finger head that faded quickly, hung around as a fine layer, and left light spotty lacing

S- grassy hops, apple, and a lot of yeasty spice. This smells like lager yeast was used

T- bitter apple and grassy hop combo along with a nice spiciness. There is a strong boozy yeast finish

M
- crisp and dry light body and nice carbonation

D- interesting beer. Very easy drinking. Not a typical winter ale at all

I could swear that this an attempt at an imperial pilsener.

Photo of CamuMahubah
3.58/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a dark amber into the mug.

Choice malt aroma.

Complex...this beer has a nice malty backbone with a particular bite. Delicate yet bold. More of a caramel malt than cacao. Hopped fairly well.

Medium with a nice lubricity. One smiles when the hop kick is realized.

This is a good beer and tonite the high is 25° and the low was around 4°, so the odds of this gal having a good show were pretty much spot on. Never once did she disappoint...

Photo of Vashtar
3.58/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Nice head! It's fairly light and really clear.

The smell has some metallic and pine hints, with an overall caramel scent.

The taste is... metallic, HOPPY and nice. I'm not sure this is really a "winter ale."

The mouthfeel is fluff! Totally like that fake snow stuff that they use in diapers.

Photo of WastingFreetime
3.58/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from tasting notes.

Poured out a darker amber with decent clarity, two fingers of foamy head that stayed around for a minute and a half, with medium levels of lacing left behind. Smells like an even blend of citrus peel, chocolate malt, and a garnish of vanilla on top. Tastes has a gentle toasted nut and vanilla character combined with a citrus / earthy hopping garnish. Noticeably absent is any kind of 'holiday spicing', for better or for worse. Feels thicker in flavor than the body actually is, gently carbonated and creamy in texture.

Photo of cretemixer
3.58/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Clear light auburn in color with an off-white head that fades fast leaving a sporadic sheeting of lace.
Caramel malts with a hint of dark fruits. Raisins and a bit of over-ripe peach.
Fruity taste, but not overly so. Less spice than I was expecting from a "winter ale" though. There is a very mild hoppiness that comes into play by mid-glass as the beer finishes on a dry note.
Mediumish body with nice mellow carbonation. Slightly oily too.
Not a bad beer, by any means, but I had hopes that this dog had a little more bite. Thanks to Bighuge for the sample.

Photo of Spikester
3.59/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear amber with a modest white head, Not much on the lacings. Smell is malty and bready yeast.
Taste is earthy bitter hops fair amount of caramel malts. Hops are floral grapefruit and earthy,
Mouthfeel is medium with average carbonation. It has a medium dry bitter finish.
Overall an unusual amber. Almost an Impy Amber if such a style exists. Needs more spiice and malts for a winter warmer. Otherwise a tasty brew.

Photo of FreshHawk
3.59/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

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Powder Hound Winter Ale from Big Sky Brewing Company
82 out of 100 based on 480 ratings.